I remember growing up in our home, my parents fostered for most of my childhood and it was always fun seeing a busy house around Christmas. The different foster brothers and sisters I had would all be looking forward to all the festivities from as early as mid November.
Some would spend every penny they had on presents and buy anything they could see. My parents would get the most hilarious presents given to them by kids trying to work our their tastes, please them and make them feel special. Some would even spend ages creating hand made presents and wanting to include everyone they had met in our family network on their Christmas list (which was quite a lot).
It was always exciting but it was often joined by a huge elephant in the room which always made my mum stay on tender hooks. The elephant which was the fact that these kids who had become part of our family and a major part of our lives; were actually trying to find their place in the Christmas celebrations. These kids were thinking of what was the ultimate Christmas and always struggled not to feel outside the window looking in. It didn’t matter what my parent done, this was a constant feeling of missing. Sometime you would see phone calls and letters (time before internet) which were trying plans for different ways they could contact blood relatives. That sense of that I should be with my blood family was always strong.
It was a tender time and is always a time to think of creating the best welcoming experience but always remember the backlash of the better it got could make things worse. To be there in comfort but also to remember that its not a black and white simple solution of expensive presents and warm hugs.
Always take things slowly at Christmas and remember that children just want to be safe and loved; even if it sounds like they are saying otherwise.